Arunchal Bachao Andolan has a single point demand to the Government of Arunachal Pradesh: Immediately remove the Panchayati Raj System illegally extended to the Ex-Assam Rifles Settlers of Vijoynagar Circle in Changlang District.
We contend the permission to the Settlers in this process that started in 2004 is not as per the law.
- First, as known to all, Arunachal Pradesh is protected by the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873 (BEFR 1873). This provision barred people from outside the area to have land rights and other facilities. Hence the Inner Line Permit (ILP) became its essential feature. So people other than the local population cannot take advantage within its territory.
- Second, another important legislation is The Arunachal Pradesh Panchayati Raj Act 1997 which has the ascent of the President of India (83rd Constitutional Amendment Act 2000). Wherein only the tribal, not even the Scheduled Caste, are allowed the participation in the panchayat process. The State government reasoned that though there are other people/communities in the state, only the Scheduled Tribes are indigenous. Hence the only qualifying factor into Panchayati System is APST.
- Third, moreover, we filed RTI at Miao ADC office (Memo: M/PR/Revision/2018, Dated 5 April 2018), asking for a copy of order that permitted their participation. The office did not have such order. Therefore, we became more convinced that the whole exercise is done undercover.
- Finally, why only in Vijoynagar Circle this favour is made for non-local community? Why want to make an exception? If the GoAP really wants to have non-APSTs to join this Panchayat System, let them boldly amend the AP Panchayat Raj Act 1997 and BEFR 1873 to make room for others. Until, such changes are made, we strongly oppose the current situation created by the government.
Therefore, taking consider from above, the Settlers of Vijoynagar Circle stand unqualified for Panchayati participation. There are several reasons but the key question is: How can the government allow Panchayat to “Temporary Settlers”?
- The Settlers of 200 families had come to settle in Vijoynagar Circle from 1967 to 1971 during the Fourth Fifth Year Plan. They were not of Arunachal origin.
- The tenure for their settlement is fixed for a period of 30 years. One such allotment order was given in 1990, which will expire by 2020. Therefore, any further extension of lease agreement will be met with strong opposition from the local people.
- Since most of the Settler population are pensioners, we expect the government to take care of them separately, but not at the expense of the local people.
After becoming clear to us that the act of government in the panchayat matter is not in consistent with the law of the land, All Arunachal Pradesh Anti-Corruption Students’ Union (AAPACSU) and All Yobin Students’ Union (AYSU) raised objections to the GoAP.
- MoU was submitted to the Chief Secretary demanding to “Stop enrolment of non-APST in PR system” Org (AP Times, 28 Nov 2017).
- Next MoU was to the Chief Minister with the message: Disallow participation of non-locals in Panchayati Raj system (AP Times, 21 March 2018).
- Due to no response, the Unions serve ultimatum to CM(AP Times, 7 April 2018)
- A peaceful rally was called in Itanagar on 3rdMay 2018 (YobinDreams). The Arunachal Dailies did not publish regarding this rally.
- The latest is a “Ten day ultimatum to the ADC, Miao” (Video on Arunachal Today News, 9 July 2019).
Even, after all these voices we have raised, the government did not respond even a word. We failed to understand why?
Therefore, in order to take this issue to the next level, there will be non-stop dharna at Miao, under the banner “Arunachal Bachao Andolan” from 28 August 2019 onwards.
We would like to appeal to all to unite for such common cause as we did during the protest for PRC protest for better tomorrow. Please come and join the upcoming non-stop dharna. Let us not stand as spectators when BEFR 1873 and AP Panchayat Act 1997 is under threat. Let us save our legal rights.
DAY 1 Protest (28 August 2019)
MIAO, Aug 28: All Yobin Students’ Union(AYSU) and All Arunachal Pradesh Anti-Corruption Students’ Union (AAPACSU) jointly organized a protest rally here demanding immediate deletion of the names of Non-APSTs who are availing rights under Panchayati Raj in Vijoynagar in Changlang district.
Hundreds of members of both unions and civil society holding placards, banners resorted to sloganeering against the state government.
Speaking on the occasion, AYSU President Ngwazosa Yobin informed that the demands are not new, as they have been fighting for the same issue since 2017. “We have repeatedly submitted memorandums to the authority, but till date there is no action from the government,” he lamented. AAPACSU President Tana Ganesh Tara said that although they had submitted memorandums to the state government as well as the local authority of Miao, there appeals have gone unheeded.
The protest is a fallout of such negligence, despite the expiry of our latest memorandum, he said adding that the protest will not stop but continue.
Meanwhile, ADC Miao, T Rumi clarified with protesters that he has no authority to issue deletion notice and urged the members to submit their representation to the District Electoral Officer or the higher authority
DAY 2 (29 August 2019)
MIAO: The 2nd day dharna against the Panchayat settlers of ex Assam Rifles in the region. The All Arunachal Pradesh Anti Corruption Students’ Union along with the All Yobin Students’ Union shouting slogan on the road against the extended settlement policy. The two bodies jointly condemned Pema Khandu and Bamang Felix and served the ultimatum of resolving the issue within this September month or they would go to the next level of protest.